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offered Barletti a light for his cigar, and
waited beside him for the porter's return.

"You have had some friends of mine
visiting the squadron this morning," said
Barletii, glancing curiously at the square-
jawed, smooth-shaven face of the sailor,
who utood there with a certain massive

"Indeed? This morning?"

"Is your ship the Furieux?"

"The Furibond, yes. Do you mean that
the lady and gentleman who were aboard
the Furibond this morning, are friends of

"The gentleman is old and feeble?"

"Yes; not so very old, perhaps, but
awfully shady and used up."

"The lady young and beautiful?"

"Magnificently handsome."

"Yes, yes. Oh, I know them well. I
was surprised to see him out so early."

"I suppose he thought there was no time
to be lost. Besides, it is customary with
us to manage these matters so that they
shall be over before twelve o'clock."

"Before twelve? I had no idea that
that was a rule in your navy."

"Oh, not exclusively in the navy,"
answered the officer, smiling a little.

"How? I don't understand."

"Afloat or ashore, marriages take place
with us before twelve at noon."


The amazement in Barletti's face was so
deep and genuine that the officer stared in
his turn.

"Did you not know?" he said. "I
thought you told me that the bride and
bridegroom were friends of yours?"

"Thethebride and—? Oh, it must
be a mistake. I was speaking of the lady
and gentleman who were rowed ashore at
that landing place, not a quarter of an hour
ago, in a little boat."

"To be sure! I was steering. I am
ashore on leave."

"He is an Englishmana rich-"

"Sir John Gale"

"Sir John. And they were, you say——-? ' '

"They were married by our chaplain.
The old boythe baronet, I meanwas
not strong enough to take the journey to
Florence, where they might have been
married before the British minister. So,
as he knows Captain Burr, he got him to
allow the ceremony to take place aboard
the Furibond. The young lady has the
prospect of a speedy widowhood before her,
it seems to me."

Barletti had felt like a man groping in a
mist. Now, the last words of the Englishman
came like a sudden ray clearing the
dim confusion. They suggested a pathway
for his conjectures to follow: whereas,
before, all had been blank and formless.
His first and most imperative impulse was
to get away and think of what he had
heard, alone. He touched his hat hastily
in farewell salutation to the officer, hailed
an empty fiacre that was passing, and
jumped into it.

The driver, with that penury of articulate
speech, and abundance of gesticulation
which characterises the lower Neapolitans,
asked in dumb show which direction he
was to drive in?

"Anywhere," said Barletti, throwing
himself back on the seat. "Totothe
Villa Reale. Drive on till I stop you!"


LEAVING Loch Boisdale to its melancholy
stagnation, the little yacht Tern* cruised
northward along the Outer Hebrides, and,
anchoring here and there, the travellers
hunted fish, flesh, and fowl, through the
Highland wilds. If the reader be a sportsman
of the usual breedserious, professional,
perfect in training, a dead shot at
any distance short of a hundred yards, and
at any object, from a snipe to a buffaloit
is with no respectful feelings that he will
hear of our undisciplined raids. We were
threethe Wanderer, Hamish Shaw, and
the dog Schneider, so christened in a fit of
enthusiasm after seeing Mr. Jefferson's Rip
Van Winkle The Wanderer would have
been a terrible fellow in the field if he had
not been short-sighted, and in the habit of
losing his spectacles. But he was at least
terribly in earnest, and could contrive to hit
a large object if he did not aim at it with
any particular attempt to be accurate.
Hamish Shaw was not great at flying game,
but was mightily successful in sneaking up
for close shots at unsuspecting and sitting
conies, and his eye was as sharp as a back-
woodsman's at picking up objects at a
distance. The third member of the party,
Schneider the dog, was of the gentler sex,
wayward, wilful for the lack of careful
training during her infancy, apt to take her
own way in hunting matters, until brought
to a due sense of decorum by a vigorous
application of the switch. Though she could
not point or set, she was a tolerable retriever,
* See ALL THE YEAR ROUND, New Series, vol. ii.,
p. 569).